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Immigrant Hall of Fame gains four Connecticut women

Judith Altmann, Marilda Gandara, Chaplain Aida Mansoor, Radenka Maric
National Immigrant Heritage Center
Judith Altmann, Marilda Gandara, Chaplain Aida Mansoor, Radenka Maric

Four eminent Connecticut women were inducted on Thursday into the Hall of Fame at the National Immigrant Heritage Center in New Britain.

This year’s inductees are all women, a first for the Hall of Fame.

  • Judith Altmann, a human rights activist and Holocaust survivor
  • Marilda Gandara, former Aetna Foundation president
  • Chaplain Aida Mansoor, a Hartford activist for inter-religious understanding
  • Radenka Maric, the Interim President of the University of Connecticut.

“The Immigrant Hall of Fame was created to celebrate the diverse ethnic characters of the American nation of the U.S.,” said Demetrios Giannaros, the center’s president, “by honoring individuals and institutions who exemplify the best of their immigrant and ethnic heritage. And those who have made significant contributions to their community, the state, the nation, and the world beyond that.”

For Maric, who was born in the former Yugoslavia and came to the U.S. in 2001, this recognition is a powerful message to women at a time when their rights are being eroded in the country.

“Well this is more than just about all of us being celebrated,” Maric said. “This is about us setting the stage of the future for the young generations of women — that they can understand that we are there to support and be with them.”

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.